Lawn Care

What Does Self-Propelled Lawn Mower Mean?

Self-propelled lawn mowers can make quick work of a lawn, offering a consistent and precise cut. But there are some clear drawbacks, and some customers may be better off with a traditional push mower. In this guide from Sims Garden Machinery, we’ll answer the question of what exactly a self-propelled lawn mower means, how they’re used, and the pros and cons they offer gardeners.


Illustration of a self-propelled lawn mower

What is a Self-Propelled Lawn Mower?

Compared to a traditional push lawn mower which you will need to manually roll through your garden, self-propelling models move when you activate them, normally via squeezing a bar. Much like a car, you’ll have options for both two and four-wheel drive. More advanced options will also come with variable speed control. Self-propelled lawn mowers will still be walk-behind models, as while larger mowers are also self-propelling, these will be referred to as ride-on mowers or ridable mowers. Self-propelled mowers will often come with either a mulcher or a collection bag, depending on how you want to deal with your grass clippings.


How Does a Self-Propelled Lawn Mower Work?

Much like a car, a self-propelled lawn mower will have a drive shaft connecting the wheels to the motor. Alongside powering the rotating blade, the motor will also power the wheels when the bar is activated, and stop powering them when it is released. This is designed to allow you to manoeuvre through complex spaces but also serves as a valuable safety feature, avoiding situations where a self-propelling mower can get out of control. While electric self-propelled models are available, most will be petrol powered. The self-propelling options will obviously use more fuel than a push mower, but this is counterbalanced by the benefits offered.

How to Use a Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

Depending on whether you have opted for a two or four-wheel drive model you may need to make adjustments during use, turning to ensure a straight line on front-wheel or rear-wheel models. Otherwise, you can mow your lawn much in the same method as a push mower. It’s worth bearing in mind that you should disengage the mower during sharp turns as this can cause damage.

Can You Push a Self-Propelled Mower?

You can push a self-propelled mower without damaging either the transmission or your grass. However, the weight of a self-propelled lawn mower is likely to be very high, making it difficult to move the mower.

The Benefits and Drawbacks of Self-Propelled Lawn Mowers

When looking to buy a new lawn mower, there will be some key benefits and drawbacks to consider when choosing between walk-behind options.

The Benefits of a Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

  • An Easier Mowing Experience: Compared to a push mower, a self-propelled option will be far easier to use, with you directing it as it moves through your garden. This can be beneficial to all users, but of special interest to those who struggle with the physicality required by a push mower.
  • Mow Larger Lawns: A self-propelled lawn mower will make far quicker work of a large garden than a push model, saving you both effort and time.
  • Mow Uneven Lawns: Another clear benefit is that self-propelled mowers can make it considerably easier to mow inclines or uneven terrain. This will save you time and effort, and also likely offer a better-looking cut.
  • Consistent Cutting: The consistent speed of a self-propelled lawn mower will give your lawn a smooth cut. Even an accomplished user of a push mower is unlikely to maintain such a consistent speed while mowing.

The Drawbacks of a Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

  • They Cost More: Due to their more complex design and additional parts, self-propelling lawn mowers will come with a higher price tag than push options. Depending on your needs, your usage, and the size of your lawn, this additional cost may ultimately not be worth it.
  • They’re Quite Heavy: As mentioned earlier, self-propelled mowers are much heavier than push equivalents. While in movement this shouldn’t be too much of an issue, actions like repositioning or moving your mower from a shed to your lawn could be very strenuous.

Who Would Benefit Most From a Self-Propelled Lawn Mower?

There are a few categories of people who would clearly benefit from a self-propelled lawn mower.

Man using a self-propelled lawn mower
  • Those With Larger Gardens: The amount of time and effort needed to manually mow a large garden mean that self-propelled mowers are a great investment. For medium to large size gardens, where a ride-on mower isn’t needed, a self-propelled option can be a great in-between step.
  • People With Uneven Gardens: Hilly and uneven gardens can be a nightmare for those with push mowers, requiring huge amounts of exertion and often leaving less than desirable results. Using a self-propelled mower will make much easier work of these gardens, with a cleaner and more consistent cut.
  • People With Limited Time: Even those with smaller gardens may find the time commitment needed to regularly mow difficult to justify. A self-propelled option will make quicker work of a garden, especially ones with larger lawns.
  • People Who Struggle With Push Mowers: Using a push mower is too physically demanding of a job for many gardeners. Self-propelled lawn mowers require less effort to use, though it’s worth remembering the heavier weight and its associated difficulties.
  • Professionals: For professional gardeners working within domestic lawns, the time and energy savings offered by a self-propelled mower are likely to be worth the extra cost. For gardeners on larger estates, a ride-on mower may be the better choice.

For those with a smaller garden, and the strength and time needed, a push mower will likely be perfectly acceptable, while coming at a lower price tag.


Our Range of Lawn Mowers For Sale

If looking for a new lawn mower, whether self-propelled, push, or ride-on, Sims Garden Machinery offers a fantastic range, all of which can be delivered across the UK. Our selection includes industry-leading brands like STIHL, Honda, and Mountfield, with models suitable for domestic use and others designed for commercial. 

All of our products can be delivered, with a skilled member of our team assembling and demonstrating your mower for you upon delivery. Browse our range of lawn mowers today, and don’t hesitate to speak to a member of our team if you have any questions about any products our your needs.

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One thought on “What Does Self-Propelled Lawn Mower Mean?

  1. Very Detailed information given thanks for it such a nice blog

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